Ipswich: Moment to shine

RESIDENTS will proudly welcome the arrival of the Olympic Torch on Thursday evening before sending it on its way the following morning, with huge crowds expected across both days.

Fourteen people from Suffolk and another from Beijing will be carrying the iconic torch through the county town and on each day the flame will be carried through the town centre and across the Cornhill.

The flame will head into Ipswich from Felixstowe by water, passing near the Orwell Bridge by boat before arriving at the Waterfront and being carried to the Old Custom House at 6.23pm.

It will then pass around the town centre, heading through Cromwell Square and the Cornhill before arriving at the Christchurch Park gates at 6.39pm.

It will arrive on stage outside Christchurch Mansion five minutes later and a huge reception is expected. The flame will ignite an evening of performance, put together by Ipswich Borough Council and its partners, and including a 20-minute community-led performance with DanceEast and Aldeburgh Music.

Another three 20-minute shows will follow, organised by relay sponsors Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung. The line-up of entertainment for the ticket-only event is set to feature up-and-coming live music act Morning Parade, an acrobatic performance from Twist and Pulse of Britain’s Got Talent fame, and an appearance Chris and Wes from Got to Dance.

The 10,000 ticket-holders will have the opportunity to participate in a number of activities and have their photograph taken with the torch.

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Towards the end of the two-hour show, the last torchbearer of the evening will light a celebration cauldron on stage.

Mary Blake, mayor of Ipswich, said: “This is going to be such a proud moment for Ipswich and a once in a lifetime opportunity for residents and visitors to see the torch arrive by boat on the Waterfront and make its way through the town centre.

“Ipswich is hosting the only overnight celebration in the county and I am sure will be the focus of much media attention. We have put a lot of work into this event and are confident the streets will be lined by many thousands of people before the torch makes its way to Christchurch Park. This is a huge year for the town as the torch relay comes during Suffolk’s biggest arts festival, Ip-art, and ahead of the Maritime Ipswich event and the start of the Tour of Britain cycle race.”

The following morning the torch will have an early start, leaving the mansion at 6.35am on its way towards Essex.

It will again pass through the Cornhill and down Portman Road before heading south – it should have cleared the town centre before the worst of the traffic rush hour builds up.

The torch itself is accompanied by a considerable back-up team with buses and support staff, so those wanting to see its passage through the town are asked to ensure they are in place early to be able to see the torch as it passes.

Tell us what you are doing for the Olympics, tweet us using the hashtag #Suffolktorch or #Essextorch depending on where you live.

Torch route:

Thursday: Neptune Quay, Ipswich waterfront, Bridge Street, Star Lane, St Peter’s Street, St Nicholas Street, Friars Street, Princes Street, The Cornhill, Tavern Street, Northgate Street and into Christchurch Park.

Friday: From Christchurch Park, Northgate Street, Buttermarket, Princes Street, The Cornhill, Westgate Street, St Matthew’s Street, Civic Drive, Handford Road, Portman Road, Princes Street, Grafton Way, Commercial Road and off to the next leg.


Thursday July 5

Dave Baynes-Robinson, 39, Kesgrave

Kasey Hagan, 15, Ipswich

Kat Parnell, 21, Ipswich

Maxine Burgess, 36, Suffolk

Nicky Hunt, 27, Ipswich

Rub Munro, 55, Suffolk

Rob Pattison, 51, Ipswich